For Grades K-4 , week of July 30, 2018

1. Volcano Island

When volcanoes erupt, they destroy many things around them. They also can create things. That is happening the state of Hawaii, where the Kilauea volcano has been erupting almost non-stop since May. Lava from the volcano has formed a new island off the coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. The lava came from a crack in the Earth that opened on the ocean floor due to Kilauea’s activity. It built up and up until it broke through the surface of the ocean as a new land mass. The hot lava from Kilauea has destroyed about 700 homes in the last several months. The eruption of the Kilauea volcano is having huge effects on the environment in Hawaii. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about some of these effects. Use what you read to write a paragraph describing the effects and whether scientists think they will last a short time or a long time.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.

2. More Moons for Jupiter

Jupiter is the oldest and biggest planet in the solar system, and scientists are constantly discovering new things about it. Just this month, astronomers discovered Jupiter has 12 more moons than previously thought, bringing Jupiter’s total to 79 moons. Some of those moons are massive, but the newly discovered ones are all small. In fact, one that astronomers named Valetudo is the smallest Jupiter moon ever discovered. Researchers do not know what the new moons are made of, but believe they are rock, ice or a mixture of both. The first moons orbiting Jupiter were discovered by the famous astronomer Galileo in the year 1610. They include Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, which is bigger than the planet Mercury. Astronomers are constantly learning new things about the solar system from telescopes, satellites and missions by spacecraft. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a new discovery about the solar system. Use what you read to create a poster showing what has been discovered and how the discovery was made. Write a paragraph describing why the discovery is important to astronomers or other scientists.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

3. Calm for Kids

Children sometimes have to appear in courtrooms to tell what they know about events or situations in which they are involved. They often are scared and nervous about what will happen when they talk to police or appear before a judge. In St. Louis County in the state of Missouri, children who have to testify now have a new source of support. It’s a therapy dog named Levi, who accompanies children when they have to testify. The county prosecutor’s office turned to therapy dogs in an effort to calm children and reduce their anxiety and fear when they are involved in court cases. Just patting a dog can calm kids down, says Levi’s hander, Lisa Jones. “They bring a great deal of comfort to [a] kid,” County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch told TV station KMOV. “Levi is part of the team now … and I couldn't be happier.” Animals do many things to help people. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about an animal helping people in some way. Use what you read to write a creative story telling how this animal helps and how people feel about it.

Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

4. Unusual School ‘Shopping’

Teachers often do unusual things to get what they need for their classrooms. In Las Vegas, Nevada, one teacher has taken to searching roadsides to find things she needs. Facing cuts in the amount of money available for schools, third grade teacher Chaney Klein started recycling things other people have thrown away to create items she needs. Using her craft skills, she has turned a discarded shelf set into a homework center and has recycled discarded crates as stools students can sit on. It’s all for the kids, Klein says of her craft recycling projects. “I want to show them that I care.” Recycling things people throw away is one way to get items needed in a classroom. In the newspaper or online, find a photo of an indoor scene. Study the photo. Then write a paragraph describing a way one item in the photo could be recycled to become something different that is needed in a classroom.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. A Whale of a Plane

White beluga whales were made popular in a children’s song and are among the most popular whales in the world. Now the Airbus airplane company is hoping belugas will be popular as transport vehicles, too. Airbus this month unveiled its huge new BelugaXL transport aircraft before a cheering crowd of fans in the European nation of France. The BelugaXL is actually the second Beluga aircraft the company has made, but this one looks so much like a whale that the company painted eyes and a smiling mouth on it. The BelugaXL is designed to carry huge items like airplane parts and wings. It will be tested for 10 months before it replaces the earlier Beluga craft, the BelugaST. Beluga whales were made famous in the song “Baby Beluga” by the children’s singer Raffi. The new BelugaXL aircraft is a new kind of transportation vehicle. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another new kind of transportation vehicle. Think like a transportation writer and use what you read to write a “review” of the features of the vehicle. Describe how these features will help people live or work more effectively. Support your points with evidence from the story.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.